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    City of Warren Mayor Doug Franklin addresses the audience during a press conference at the Northside Marketplace announcing Retail Revival, a joint initiative with the cities of Akron and Warren and eBay Friday. (Karen Schiely/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)

Akron small businesses will be taking part in a first-of-its-kind initiative with eBay.

The 12-month pilot program, called Retail Revival, was announced Friday morning by Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and eBay Inc. President and CEO Devin Wenig.

Akron is the first U.S. city selected by eBay to take part in Retail Revival.

“We decided Akron was the place to try something really new,” said Wenig, eBay CEO since 2015.

As many as 40 brick-and-mortar businesses — primarily from Akron plus some from nearby Warren — likely will participate, according to the announcement inside the new Northside Marketplace off Furnace Street.

The local businesses will get exclusive support and resources, including training, to market their products and services on eBay. Discussions between Akron and eBay began about six months ago.

Horrigan called the Retail Revival program a “transformational new partnership” between the city and the $9 billion San Jose, Calif., e-commerce and online auction company.

“A partnership that will help make Akron a leader in the digital economy,” Horrigan said. “The program exists to help small local businesses and the broader community harness the power of technology and participate in the global marketplace.”

The city will work with eBay to identify businesses to participate in the program, Horrigan said. “It’s time we share our exceptional goods and customer service with the rest of the world.”

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said some people wrongly associate Northeast Ohio with the stigma of being the “Rust Belt.”

“That’s a very old perception. And that’s very definitely not who we are now,” he said. “And eBay has validated that.”

Plenty of potential

The Retail Revival initiative has regional and even statewide potential, Horrigan said.

Some Akron small business owners said…